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Getting disability for migraines

Can I get Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income for severe migraines?

Migraines are painful headaches which are more severe than a common headache, lasting for hours or days. Females are more likely to experience migraines, but it is estimated that over 28 million American may sometimes experience them.

Migraines may be triggered by a variety of factors: bright lights, odors, perfumes, allergic reactions, smoke, alcohol, irregular sleep patterns, fasting or missing meals, emotional stress, physical exertion, or certain types of foods.

Common Migraine Symptoms

Migraine symptoms vary by individual. As mentioned above, some claimants may have migraines lasting for days, others for hours. Severe migraines may cause vomiting, throbbing head pain, severe pain, decreased ability to perform activities and sensitivity to light.

Qualifying for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income for Migraines

The Social Security Administration has two methods of determining whether a claimant is disabled: through a medical listing found on the Social Security Administration (SSA) Listing of Impairments (a list of all the conditions the SSA assumes are automatically disabling) or through a medical vocational allowance.

Unfortunately, there is not a listing for migraines in the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments. Migraine headaches, however, may be a symptom of another severe medical condition which might be listed by the SSA. Claimants who have suffered a stroke, a severe brain injury or who have a neurological disease may be able to meet another listing. Contact a disability lawyer for more information if this might be the case.

Winning Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income for Migraines through a medical vocational allowance

Claimants who have a significant impairment but their condition is not listed on the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments may be able to prove that they do not have the ability or “residual functional capacity” to return to their previous job. This process is known as a medical vocational allowance.

If a claimant cannot return to their previous work the Social Security Administration will review their work experience, age, and education (which are called “vocational factors”) to determine if they could retrain for new work. If the Social Security Administration, after considering all of the vocational factors, does not believe the claimant has the residual capacity to perform substantial gainful activity they will determine them disabled.

What does this mean for my Migraine disability case?

If you suffer with severe migraines and you are attempting to win Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income through a medical vocational allowance your goal is to prove you do not have the residual functional capacity to work.

How is this done? It will not be easy. You will need to have great medical evidence that focuses on the frequency and duration of your migraines and why they are so severe you are incapable of performing even the simplest job.

Information that you may need can include:

  • Can you drive?

  • What do you have to do when you have a migraine?

  • How long do they last?

  • How many times per week do you have migraines?

  • How would your migraines make it impossible to complete an 8 hour workday?

  • Have you taken medication to control them?

  • What are the residual effects of your migraines?

  • How long does it take for you to recover from a migraine?

  • Are there any environmental work factors which trigger migraines? For instance, would you have difficulty working in an environment with bright lights, loud noises or fumes?

Do not exaggerate the severity, frequency or the limitations caused by your migraines. If you have chronic headaches or migraines your medical documentations must support your claim or you will be denied. Keep in mind, your goal is to have enough medical evidence to prove that you do not have the ability to work. This can be done by beginning to eliminate potential employment options.
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